"What happens outside of uptown, stays outside of uptown."
That is, unless you send me a t-shirt stating this with an invite for a bar crawl attached. I am a nightlife columnist after all.
The Outside of Uptown bar crawl called upon the Ragin' Uptown bus, ironically, to transport its passengers from Elizabeth to NODA, and all the way out to Matthews. Stops included Jackalope Jack's, Five Steps II, Starz Tavern and The Comedy Zone, The First Place, Philosopher's Stone, and Solstice Tavern. Before boarding the bus, crawlers and riders had to sign a waiver. You know that when your night begins with signing a waiver, you're in for an out-of-control night. After all, the Ragin' Uptown's motto is party without a conscience.
On the Ragin' Uptown, you really don't care that you're being transported to Matthews; it's not your average school bus ride. Coolers of alcohol obscure the walkway, limiting the amount of space for passengers, who struggle with balance clinging to poles for support or to help them bust a move. Let's just say a stretch limo has nothing on the Ragin' Uptown. Albeit close, it wasn't a magic carpet ride, but it will definitely suffice as an alternative to drinking and driving. Well, I guess technically it is drinking and driving -- or more accurately, drinking while being driven.
The crawlers congregated at Jackalope Jack's, which is just like any old sports bars: pool tables, dart boards, karaoke designated nights, team logos on the walls and multiple games on the many televisions. But on this particular night there was only one game playing -- the Ohio State vs. Michigan game.
The first stop on the bus tour was Five Steps II on Monroe en route to Matthews. You've probably passed Five Steps II on your way to Super Wal-Mart but never noticed this giant that has what looks like a movie screening room. By 8 p.m., crawlers were playing spin the cell phone and taking pictures of each other doing embarrassing things that if sober, they probably would've opted not to document.
For the next stop, we traveled so far outside uptown we ended up deep in Matthews at Starz Tavern and the Comedy Zone. Bet you didn't know Mecklenburg had more than one Comedy Zone, did you? Well, this one is a little different than the Uptown Zone -- the tavern slash comedy club is a converted Shoney's restaurant, and if you miss the sober bus back to town, there's a Courtyard Marriott five feet outside the entrance. But it's a cool little venue nonetheless, with good drink prices. Photo Hunt and Wordster bar games to kept me wildly entertained.
Next, we headed back up Monroe Road to the First Place, a tiny neighborhood bar that if you blink, you'll miss it. Then it was on to Philosopher's Stone, with its patchouli aroma permeating off the patrons.
They saved the best for last: Solstice, the newest edition to the NODA scene. Actually, aside from the Dog Bar, it's the only bar in NODA. The four-month-old bar represents the up-and-coming. For most bars, the crawl was the crowd, with the exception of Solstice, which has its own crowd on any given night.
All the money raised for the bar crawl went towards the seventh annual Guys and Dolls Auction, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And on Feb. 17, crawl organizer Larken Egleston is going up for auction at the Convention Center.
Meanwhile, back in Uptown
The party went on without us in Wachovia's Atrium where a Turkey Trot took place. Other than the Thanksgiving theme, it was your typical uptown gala: 300 person plus, expensive ticket prices, fancy attire.
All in all, it is good to get out of uptown and cross over the border to a new zip code of nightlife ... especially when it's the Ragin' Uptown ushering you across the border.
Psssstttt ... If you have any dirt or inside scoop on nightlife, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.